Creating investor friendly atmosphere
From the day Jammu and Kashmir state was bifurcated into two union territories, the administration here has been making tall claims about bringing investments into J&K. The government has been meeting big industry people to invest here to boost J&K’s economy besides creating a comfortable job market for unemployed educated youth. There are some indications that some of the country’s big industrialists may be ready to give it a try. Wishing government all the success in wooing the businesses to invest in Jammu and Kashmir, there are a few things that need to be highlighted. Kashmir, for instance, owing to its geography as well as the way this place has been managed thus far, is no way near to being a destination where big trades-people may want to invest. For any business to be successful, there are a few prerequisites – one of the major requirements being a stable political atmosphere. This is something that Kashmir lacks so desperately. Given the politics of this place, Valley continues to remain on the proverbial edge, so much so that even the slightest provocations have a history of putting life out of gear here for months together.
For the growth of industry, any place needs an investor-friendly industrial government policy besides an enabling atmosphere by way of different concerned government agencies invested with a friendly and facilitating work culture. Both these things are missing here. Then, a place also needs good network of roads to facilitate to and fro movement of raw materials and finished goods. And it needs a sound energy base to power the industrial super-engine. Again Kashmir lacks both – the frequent and long, disconcerting closures of Jammu-Srinagar national highway and a network of broken and dilapidated roads elsewhere is an unfortunate reality. Same is the case with electricity. How could a place spare energy for the industry if it is not able to meet even the domestic energy requirements of its population? Even the existing industrial units in Kashmir are suffering due to electricity power crunch.
The other day Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, took a meeting of concerned officers to review the status of power supply to various Industrial Estates (IE) in Kashmir Valley. It was brought to the notice of the concerned officer that several industrial estates including at Aglar Shopian, Vessu Anantnag, Khrew Pulwama, Wuyun Pulwama, Mehmoodabad Dooru Anantnag, Ashmuji Kulgam, Malwan Kulgam, IE Kugam and Gagran Shopian were facing troubles vis-à-vis electric power supply. The question is that if the government here is not able to ensure electric power supply to the existing industrial units, how can it convince the big business houses to invest and operate here.
Countless other grey areas can be cited to show that there is ‘many a slip between the cup and the lip’. Political rhetoric aside, investment in Kashmir is subject to many ifs and buts, which need to be taken care of. This place needs some practical and sincere action on the ground if the idea is to translate the political promises of Kashmir’s “overall development” into a reality.